I read an article recently that discussed why yoga might be so beneficial for those who practice it. Yoga practitioners will claim all sorts of health benefits, from increased longevity to improved mental acuity, to improvements in almost all markers of physical and emotional health. Not to be a skeptic, but this does sometimes seem like more than some regular stretching and balancing and chanting a few Oms could really accomplish. But ask anyone with an established yoga practice and they will agree- and their lives will show- that yoga has profound benefits.
The author of this article said he or she believed it was in part caused by the fact that doing one thing in a day which was good for you (on purpose) actually opened the door to doing a lot more. The article said a person who went to yoga class and was hungry might choose a salad and a smoothie later in the day- in order to keep up the good feeling from the yoga class.
Something about this line of reasoning makes sense to me. This is not to say I have never done yoga and then eaten a burger. I have. But yoga does create a sense of ease in the body and it feels like something worth holding on to for as long as possible.
This is true of any healthy habit. Massage is the same way. Getting a massage creates the same feel good response in the body and makes you want to keep feeling good, so maybe you take a walk later in the day. These small choices add up one by one and pretty soon, everything is better.